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Prosecco – Italian bubbles

Prosecco has become a worldwide phenomenon so much so that the supply cannot meet global demand.

What is Prosecco and what is behind the success of this iconic sparkling wine from Italy?

Prosecco is a refreshing, light, aromatic sparkling wine with a citrusy flavour with a hint of pears. Served chilled it is a great drink at any hour of the day. While it is a sparkling wine don’t think of it as an alternative to Champagne because it is different.  It doesn’t have the subtle nuances of a top Champagne.  Think of Prosecco like the retail store Zara, stylish and affordable while Champagne is Haut Couture.

Now we come to the second question; Why has Prosecco become so popular around the world?  Wine drinkers find it smoother, uncomplicated and easier than other sparkling wines as well as being much cheaper than Champagne.  In the USA alone sales have jumped from less than 1 million in 2010 to 4 million cases in 2015, more than double the volume of Champagne.

Prosecco can only be made from the native Glera grape variety grown in the Veneto and Friuli-Venezia-Giulia regions of northwestern Italy. In total there are just over 20,000Ha of vineyards, 80% of which are in the Veneto. The wine is made using the Charmat Method, also known as The Italian Method, this involves crushing the grapes and making a white wine before sealing the tank where a second fermentation takes places creating the bubbles.  The bubbles are carbon dioxide which is produced naturally during the fermentation.  This is different from Cava and Champagne which are made using the Champagne Method, where the second fermentation take place in the bottle.

Are all Proseccos the same? No. As with any wine region, for example Rioja, you should do your homework to find the best Proseccos. Style and quality can vary. There are three styles of Prosecco; Dry, Extra Dry and Brut.  Quality is classified on the label as Prosecco DOC, Denominazione di Origine Controllata, Prosecco DOCG and Superiore DOCG, the highest classification for wines from the sub zones Asolo and Conegliano Valdobbiadene areas.

Prosecco is a great way to introduce consumers to the joys of sparkling wine.  As a food wine it goes well with a wide range of dishes from fried calamares to a creamy pasta dish. It also works well as a mixer, think of the world famous Bellini served at Harry’s Bar in Venice.  Mixologists include it in many of their cocktails.  Try it with strawberry or pomegranate juice to make a very refreshing summer drink.  This does not diminish Prosecco as a wine, it just adds to it versatility.

I recently tasted a range of Proseccos and rated highly the Ruggeri Quarters Superiore DOCG and Bosco Malera Fiasco Prosecco DOC.

Add this singular Italian sparkling wine to your list of Wines of the World to enjoy.

Written by

I am a Northern Irishman based in Valencia. My career in wine began more than three decades ago, in London. I am the founder of TheWinePlace.es, an online store, where wine enthusiasts can enjoy a selection of international wines and Verde Marte, a company dedicated to exporting Spanish wines. Also, Thewineplace.courses, an "approved program provider" of the courses of the prestigious WSET. I share my passion for wines through my media work writing weekly columns for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and 5 Barricas, an online wine magazine.

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